Is the Supermoon Really Super?

Is the Supermoon Really Super?

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MOBILE, Ala. -

The full moon of June 23rd is the supermoon of 2013. Each year has a supermoon. It's a new term to describe what has always happened. Super simply means bigger.

The moon's orbit around Earth is not a perfect circle. It's more of an ellipse so that once a year the moon is at it's closest point to Earth (Perigee). It's not a huge difference but astronomically it is called a "supermoon" because the moon is closer and appears larger.

The name "supermoon" might make you think that it is so much bigger than average. In reality, the "supermoon" is about 6% larger than average. You can also say it is 13% larger than when the moon is at the farthest point away (Apogee).

While Sunday, June 23rd, is the date of the full moon, the nights just before and after will feature the slightly enlarged moon too. Many people will see or notice it at moonrise or moonset. That's the point where your eyes compare the size of the moon to objects on the ground so it will always seem big. Once the moon is high in the sky it will seem much smaller.

The moon is actually the same size on the horizon as it is when it is high above your head. Prove this by taking a picture of it when it rises and then several hours later and then comparing the pictures. These astronomical phenomena are separate from weather but the weather controls whether you get to see them or not!

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